To obtain insight into the axis-forming mechanism in ascidian embryogenesis, Hroth, an ascidian counterpart of orthodenticlelotx, was isolated from Halocynthia roretzi and its expression in embryogenesis was examined by whole mount in situ hybridization. It was revealed that Hroth is expressed in both involuting mesoendoderm and anterior ectoderm during gastrulation while later expression is restricted to the sensory vesicle and anterior epidermis. Expression pattern of Hroth around gastrulation was compared with that of Hrlim, the ascidian LIM class homeobox gene that is known to be expressed during gastrulation. In the light of the present findings on the expression of Hroth, properties of the axis-forming mechanism in ascidian embryogenesis are discussed.
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